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To what extent had the role and status of women in society improve by 1900?

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Introduction

To what extent had the role and status of women in society improve by 1900? Up until The 19th centaury there was very little progress in the role of women in society, and it had stayed the same for several decades. All aspects of a women's life including education, work and marriage and family, reflected the fact that women were seen as second class citizens to men. Women were predominately seen as only useful as a wife and a mother to several children, therefore many had little or no rights. As well as this it was thought that education was unnecessary as it would not be useful at home. As a result, the only education available for the working class was from charity, factory or dame schools. Although all of these did try and teach the bare minimum only a handful of girls were able to attend as many were sent out to work. Comparatively middle class girls were often educated at home by a governess, however the education given was often skills in pleasing a man such as cooking, playing music and sewing. However this all changed in 1870 with the education reform act, this established the idea that the state must provide an education available for all children between the ages of 5-13, despite this parents were still charged a small fee for there children's education. ...read more.

Middle

all became socially accepted as jobs suitable for women to perform. Although this was progress, inequality in the work place was still common, this was because many jobs such as becoming a doctor were impossible to be entered in by a woman as well as many still only earning a small fraction of the wages a man of the same job would earn. (Florence Nightingale, a big influence in making nursing a respectable job and medicine an accessable profession for women.) Much of views and standards placed upon Victorian women were a result of the separate spheres theory. This was a theory held by many men as well as women. It meant that men occupied different social spheres to women as they were more suited to perform in roles in the world of politics, work and war. Where as a woman was seen to be far more suited to a sphere in the private sector which involved domestic jobs around the house, raising children and act as a moral guide to give support and comfort to their husbands. Religion also played a part in this theory stating that it was part of Gods different designs and purposes for men and women. ...read more.

Conclusion

The new laws introduced such as allowing women to enter universities had little relevance to their lives; marriage to a man in regular employment still remained the main ambition of working-class women. Large families were still extremely common with some women pregnant on an almost annual basis, high mortality rates making many widows and having to cope with poverty was still a huge reality. Many were forced to take up employment, meaning they were forced to cope with work as well as running a household, with little and often no hope from there husband. Overall the role and status of women in society did improve by 1900 in the fact that they were respected in more areas such as education and new jobs Were available such as white blouse work, greatly improving there status out side the traditional private sphere. Many middle-class women also proved to others that they could cope being independent and not having to rely on a man. However although there was little improvement, there was still a lot left to be done to dramatically improve the role and status of women such as equal pay and less limitations in what women were able to do such as the right to vote. Therefore the extent in which the role and status of women improved in the 19th centaury was minimal but not non-existent. ...read more.

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